Updated: Dec 8, 2020
As-salamu alaykum, Firstly, I want to say that I saw this option as I was looking at the prayer timings and think that this is very helpful! Sometimes, I have questions that come up and I do not know where to go for authentic answers as sometimes the internet can be unreliable and there are many different opinions and views online. Thank you for putting this option up and providing an option to clear our understanding and knowledge of Islam.
My question is regarding tattoos and piercings. I know that tattoos are considered Haraam because Allah said that one shouldn't harm their body and alter their appearance. It is related to not making permanent changes to your body and making changes to his creation. Self-harming and causing pain to your body is also another reason I've heard.
Considering that ear piercings take a needle to pierce the skin and become permanent so they end up altering the part of the body to change one's appearance with an earring and jewellery - how are they permissible? We cause pain to our bodies for jewellery purposes, do it to wear jewellery and create permanent holes and slits (my grandma's ears are slit because she wore very heavy earrings once) in our ear lobes / nose / wherever the piercing is done. There's also the case of ear expanders that stretch out the lobe and jewellery as such that I think alters one's appearance immensely? These common piercings are also very visible compared to someone choosing to get a number tattooed on the inside of their arm or their ribs where no one else is able to view it?
What is the difference between the two? How is getting a tattoo that isn't a drawing of a face (bc that is disliked) haraam vs. ear piercings, nose piercings, eyebrow piercings, lip piercings, belly button piercings, etc? Thinking about this, it is a question that's come up. I hope you are able to get back to me on this because I am genuinely curious - as a 17-year old I'm trying to better understand things and still trying my best to learn!
Thank you and Jazāk Allāhu Khayran, Ayesha
In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.
May Allah (swt) reward you for reaching out and seeking clarification. Ameen.
Firstly, the Quran explicitly mentions the prohibition of altering the body,
….وَلآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُغَيِّرُنَّ خَلْقَ اللّهِ وَمَن يَتَّخِذِ الشَّيْطَانَ وَلِيًّا مِّن دُونِ اللّهِ فَقَدْ خَسِرَ خُسْرَانًا مُّبِينًا
“and I will command them so they will change the creation of Allah .” And whoever takes Satan as an ally instead of Allah has certainly sustained a clear loss” ; Surah Nisaa (Ayah 119).
This ayah refers to Shaitaan’s method of deceiving people, which includes instructing them to change the creation of Allah (such as tattoos).
Similarly, the Prophet (saw) said (Narrated by Ibn Umar (RadhiAllahu Anhuma) :
" لَعَنَ اللَّهُ الْوَاصِلَةَ وَالْمُسْتَوْصِلَةَ، وَالْوَاشِمَةَ وَالْمُسْتَوْشِمَةَ "
"Allah has cursed such a lady who lengthens (her or someone else's) hair artificially or gets it lengthened, and also a lady who tattoos (herself or someone else) or gets herself tattooed. " (Sahih Bukhari)
A similar hadith is narrated by Abu Huraira (RadhiAllahu Anhu):
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ أُتِيَ عُمَرُ بِامْرَأَةٍ تَشِمُ فَقَامَ فَقَالَ أَنْشُدُكُمْ بِاللَّهِ مَنْ سَمِعَ مِنَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي الْوَشْمِ فَقَالَ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ فَقُمْتُ فَقُلْتُ يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنَا سَمِعْتُ. قَالَ مَا سَمِعْتَ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ " لاَ تَشِمْنَ وَلاَ تَسْتَوْشِمْنَ ".
``A woman who used to practise tattooing was brought to `Umar. `Umar got up and said, "I beseech you by Allah, which of you heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying something about tattooing?" l got up and said, "0 chief of the Believers! l heard something." He said, "What did you hear?" I said, "I heard the Prophet (addressing the ladies), saying, 'Do not practise tattooing and do not get yourselves tattooed.'" (Sahih Bukhari)
As opposed to earrings / ear piercings, that are established in the following proofs:
Narrated by Ibn Abbas, that on the day of Eid , the Prophet (Saw) encouraged the women to give Sadaqah (charity). The women gave their jewellery from their ears and necks. (Bukhari)
Based on this hadith, Hafidh Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani (ra) states:
"واستدل به على جواز ثقب أذن المرأة لتجعل فيها القرط و غيره”
“The ruling is derived from this hadith for the permissibility of the piercing of the ear for women”. (Fathul Bari 10:344)
When proofs are established from Quran, Ahadeeth (narrations of the Prophet (saw), and the Consensus of Companions/Scholars, logic will not be relied on to establish rulings.
However, below are several logical proofs that can be used to clarify and highlight the difference between ear piercings and tattoos:
There is great amount of pain and harm in tattoos as opposed to the harm in piercings. The harms of tattoos are extensive which includes breaking the skin barrier which carries several health risks. Many of the pigments that are used in tattoos are not meant for skin contact at all, some are meant for printer’s ink or automobile paint. The FDA has listed several reactions that may occur from tattooing: fevers, shaking, chills, sweats, granulomas (small bumps that may form around foreign material), and keloids (FDA). Bloodborne diseases can also occur from puncturing the skin. A direct link to cancer has not yet been established. Islamically, any practices that directly harm the body (without benefit), will be impermissible. Although piercings may pose a slight health risk, they are not nearly as extensive and dangerous as tattoos.
Unnecessary pain is impermissible in Islam, and tattoos are considered to be extensively painful (especially in comparison to a peircing). Ear piercings heal quickly.
عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ سَعْدِ بْنِ مَالِكِ بْنِ سِنَانٍ الْخُدْرِيّ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه و سلم قَالَ: " لَا ضَرَرَ وَلَا ضِرَارَ" .
There should be neither harming (darar) nor reciprocating harm (dirar).
As a Muslim, exhibiting excellence of character and outwards appearance is a must. Tattooing is not the practice or appearance encouraged by Shari`ah and the Prophet (saw) placed emphasis on not resembling the disbelievers in appearance.
عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم " مَنْ تَشَبَّهَ بِقَوْمٍ فَهُوَ مِنْهُمْ "
Narrated by Abdullah Ibn Umar (RadhiAllahu Anhuma), the Prophet (saw) said: “He who copies any people is one of them.” Tattoos occasionally show religious significance because of it`s origins. Therefore, refraining from resemblance is necessary.
Shari`ah instructs for wealth to be used appropriately, and to avoid excessive wasteful spending.
In the Quran those who spend extravagantly are likened to as “the brothers of Shaitan”.
إِنَّ الْمُبَذِّرِينَ كَانُوا إِخْوَانَ الشَّيَاطِينِ وَكَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ لِرَبِّهِ كَفُورً
“Indeed, the wasteful are brothers of the devils, and ever has Satan been to his Lord ungrateful.” (Surah Israa, verse 27)
The average cost for a tiny to a medium tattoo varies from $30 to $450 and a large one can go all the way up to $4,000. However, when it comes to the price of ear piercings, the average cost of an earlobe piercing at a body piercing studio is about $40 to $60 including the jewelry. This indicates the extensive price difference between tattoos and piercings.
Tattoos are made by the continuous puncturing of the skin with needles and by the injecting of ink, dyes, and pigments into the deep layer of the skin which causes bleeding. Because of this constant procedure, impure blood is injected back into the body. This is considered impure as that blood prevents purification obtained through wudhu and ghusl. Wudhu and Ghusl can be properly done with a piercing by ensuring that water flows through the piercing.
Shari`ah has limited the beautification of the body to ear piercings (which has clear proofs establishing it`s permissibility). Ear piercings were customary at the time of the Prophet (saw). Nose piercings were a common form of adornment in many Muslim communities throughout history. These two piercings are the exception to the rule of impermissibility of tampering with the creation of Allah. This exception cannot be extended to anything other than what Shari`ah has ordained. (Daarul Iftaa, Mufti Muhammad bin Adam)
Forms of beautification will be limited to what Sharìah considers to be ``beauty`` , as opposed to society, and opinions.
Tattooing is a form of ``Muthla`` (Mutilation) to one`s body due to the level of change and damage. Muthla is prohibited in Islam.
Therefore, ear piercings are PERMISSIBLE, and tattoos are HARAM.
May Allah (Swt) reward you for seeking clarification and aiming to understand this deen. Ameen.
And Allah knows best.
Student - Jamiah Islamiah Abu Bakr
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Kasim Ingar
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